Free Julian Assange

Exposing official lies: that is Julian Assange’s “crime”

Chris Hedges

Today I saw this speech by Chris Hedges and decided to share it here for all my readers. Julian Assange is being punished for truth-telling; punished as an example to others who might also seek to tell the truth; punished in a way that exposes the repression of a justice system that offers injustice to those who dare to challenge the powerful. “Tyranny imposed on others is now imposed on us,” Chris Hedges says in this speech. I urge you to read it, listen to it, and ponder his words. W.J. Astore

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Merrick Garland and those who work in the Department of Justice are the puppets, not the puppet masters. They are the façade, the fiction, that the longstanding persecution of Julian Assange has something to do with justice. Like the High Court in London, they carry out an elaborate judicial pantomime. They debate arcane legal nuances to distract from the Dickensian farce where a man who has not committed a crime, who is not a U.S. citizen, can be extradited under the Espionage Act and sentenced to life in prison for the most courageous and consequential journalism of our generation.

The engine driving the lynching of Julian is not here on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is in Langley, Virginia, located at a complex we will never be allowed to surround – the Central Intelligence Agency. It is driven by a secretive inner state, one where we do not count in the mad pursuit of empire and ruthless exploitation. Because the machine of this modern leviathan was exposed by Julian and WikiLeaks, the machine demands revenge. 

The United States has undergone a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion. It is no longer a functioning democracy. The real centers of power, in the corporate, military and national security sectors, were humiliated and embarrassed by WikiLeaks. Their war crimes, lies, conspiracies to crush the democratic aspirations of the vulnerable and the poor, and rampant corruption, here and around the globe, were laid bare in troves of leaked documents.  

We cannot fight on behalf of Julian unless we are clear about whom we are fighting against. It is far worse than a corrupt judiciary. The global billionaire class, who have orchestrated a social inequality rivaled by pharaonic Egypt, has internally seized all of the levers of power and made us the most spied upon, monitored, watched and photographed population in human history. When the government watches you 24-hours a day, you cannot use the word liberty. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. Julian was long a target, of course, but when WikiLeaks published the documents known as Vault 7, which exposed the hacking tools the CIA uses to monitor our phones, televisions and even cars, he — and journalism itself — was condemned to crucifixion. The object is to shut down any investigations into the inner workings of power that might hold the ruling class accountable for its crimes, eradicate public opinion and replace it with the cant fed to the mob.

I spent two decades as a foreign correspondent on the outer reaches of empire in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. I am acutely aware of the savagery of empire, how the brutal tools of repression are first tested on those Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth.” Wholesale surveillance. Torture. Coups. Black sites. Black propaganda. Militarized police. Militarized drones. Assassinations. Wars. Once perfected on people of color overseas, these tools migrate back to the homeland. By hollowing out our country from the inside through deindustrialization, austerity, deregulation, wage stagnation, the abolition of unions, massive expenditures on war and intelligence, a refusal to address the climate emergency and a virtual tax boycott for the richest individuals and corporations, these predators intend to keep us in bondage, victims of a corporate neo-feudalism. And they have perfected their instruments of Orwellian control. The tyranny imposed on others is imposed on us.

From its inception, the CIA carried out assassinations, coups, torture, and illegal spying and abuse, including that of U.S. citizens, activities exposed in 1975 by the Church Committee hearings in the Senate and the Pike Committee hearings in the House. All these crimes, especially after the attacks of 9/11, have returned with a vengeance. The CIA is a rogue and unaccountable paramilitary organization with its own armed units and drone program, death squads and a vast archipelago of global black sites where kidnapped victims are tortured and disappeared. 

The U.S. allocates a secret black budget of about $50 billion a year to hide multiple types of clandestine projects carried out by the National Security Agency, the CIA and other intelligence agencies, usually beyond the scrutiny of Congress. The CIA has a well-oiled apparatus to kidnap, torture and assassinate targets around the globe, which is why, since it had already set up a system of 24-hour video surveillance of Julian in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, it quite naturally discussed kidnapping and assassinating him. That is its business. Senator Frank Church — after examining the heavily redacted CIA documents released to his committee — defined the CIA’s “covert activity” as “a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies and consorting with known torturers and international terrorists.”

All despotisms mask state persecution with sham court proceedings. The show trials and troikas in Stalin’s Soviet Union. The raving Nazi judges in fascist Germany. The Denunciation rallies in Mao’s China. State crime is cloaked in a faux legality, a judicial farce.

If Julian is extradited and sentenced and, given the Lubyanka-like proclivities of the Eastern District of Virginia, this is a near certainty, it means that those of us who have published classified material, as I did when I worked for The New York Times, will become criminals. It means that an iron curtain will be pulled down to mask abuses of power. It means that the state, which, through Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, anti-terrorism laws and the Espionage Act that have created our homegrown version of Stalin’s Article 58, can imprison anyone anywhere in the world who dares commit the crime of telling the truth.

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight against powerful subterranean forces that, in demanding Julian’s extradition and life imprisonment, have declared war on journalism. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight for the restoration of the rule of law and democracy. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to dismantle the wholesale Stasi-like state surveillance erected across the West. 

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to overthrow — and let me repeat that word for the benefit of those in the FBI and Homeland Security who have come here to monitor us — overthrow the corporate state and create a government of the people, by the people and for the people, that will cherish, rather than persecute, the best among us.

167 thoughts on “Free Julian Assange

  1. Meanwhile, in the Real World beyond the Bullshit of American politics and up an coming politicians making critical career moves… :

    U.S. SEES ‘DECISIVE DECADE’ AHEAD IN COMPETITION WITH CHINA, RUSSIA WSJ [Extracts]

    WASHINGTON—The U.S. is entering a “decisive decade” as it faces competition with China and an attempt by Russia to upend the international order, while dealing with challenges from climate change to energy to food security, international terrorism and disease, the White House said Wednesday.

    The Biden administration released its national-security strategy, a blueprint that outlines the administration’s approach to problems around the world.

    The strategy describes the U.S.’s attempt to compete with its adversaries, such as China and Russia, while cultivating alliances with countries that share American interests and objectives.

    In addition to pointing to the threats posed by China and Russia, THE STRATEGY DE-EMPHASIZES THREATS POSED BY TERRORISM but identifies a number of transnational threats that include food security, disease, pandemics and climate change, Mr. Sullivan said.

    Previous national security strategy documents had defined both China and Russia as global competitors to the U.S., and Moscow’s February invasion of Ukraine was a reminder that the threat posed by Russia couldn’t be written off. Russia is “still profoundly dangerous,” the White House document said.

    BUT THE WEAKENING OF RUSSIA’S MILITARY AND OF ITS POSITION ON THE GLOBAL STAGE SINCE THE INVASION AND BATTLEFIELD LOSSES TO UKRAINIAN FORCES HAVE REINFORCED THE VIEW THAT CHINA IS THE U.S.’S MOST CONSEQUENTIAL THREAT.

    While Russia is diminishing in strength, the new strategy describes BEIJING AS THE ONLY COMPETITOR WITH THE INTENT TO RESHAPE THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER AND THE INCREASING ECONOMIC, DIPLOMATIC, MILITARY AND TECHNOLOGICAL MIGHT TO DO SO.

    Full article at https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-sees-decisive-decade-ahead-in-competition-with-china-russia-11665591483

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    1. The article also stated:

      “The strategy was delayed for months… because the analysts needed to factor in lessons from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now in its eighth month. THE STRATEGY, WHICH EVERY ADMINISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO DRAFT, INFORMS A SEPARATE DOCUMENT THAT HAS YET TO BE RELEASED FROM THE PENTAGON, CALLED THE NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY, WHICH INFORMS BUDGETING AND OTHER PLANS FOR THE U.S. MILITARY.” [EMPHASIS added.[

      One can only imagine what that new “National Defense Strategy” is going to be, and what it proposes for the National “Security” [sic] Budget in the years ahead.

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  2. Jeff my friend, might you be making a mistake not at least paying attention to the Joe Rogan phenomena? The biggest podcaster on the internet. And it’s your mistake that Joe Rogan has a show merely “to push what Joe Rogan has to say about anything”. He’s just a very good open-minded interviewer. Thats why large numbers follow him. And he has guests of all political persuasion and education on his podcasts. The good. The bad. And the ugly. Even you, with your mind made up, might learn something. And it’s a way to listen what young Americans are thinking.

    He has described himself as socially liberal, saying that he supports same-sex marriage, gay rights, women’s rights, recreational drug use, universal health care, and universal basic income, but also supports gun rights and the Second Amendment. Rogan describes himself as a strong supporter of freedom of speech, and has criticized cancel culture and what he perceives to be suppression of those who hold right-wing views in the television and film industry. He has also criticized what he describes as an American foreign policy of military adventurism. I don’t see anything I dislike there.

    And another mistake you are making is that I think he is a ‘reliable source”. But I am interested in listening to his guests. I am open minded. My mind is not made up on many issues. Tulsi for example. I have not made my mind up, as you apparently have, that she is just another run-of-the-mill, wholly-owned and -operated by her funders American politician.

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    1. The short answer to all Your questions, Dennis, is No.

      And i have neither the time, interest, nor inclination to offer a longer answer.

      Does that answer Your questions?

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  3. How does one go about seeing all the other 141 Comments that were made before these? When i click on “147 THOUGHTS ON “FREE JULIAN ASSANGE,” i am able only to see the last six. Thank You.

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  4. Man you are cranky today – click on where it says in blue “Older Comments”
    And BTW I did not ask for an answer to my post about Joe Rogan. Nor expect one.
    Just thinking you might want to be viewing a new source frequented by a wide variety of younger viewers out in the real world. Not as insular as you and I. Keyboard warriors. CAUTION: Knows everything. And has plenty of time to tell you about it! As the saying on the hat goes!

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      1. Virtually Each, Every, and All of those “Keyboard Warriors” You speak so highly of, Dennis, have their very own ~ and very “insular” ~ Echo Chambers and News, Views, Fact, Reality, and “Truth” Silos.

        And that’s pretty blatantly obvious to just about anybody who bothetrs to look, listen, and read, isn’t it?

        Another blessing of the iNet, eh?

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  5. Hey Jeff, speaking of Joe Rogan’s podcasts.
    Like me, I think you have been retired for quite some time now. When we go out in the real World in 2022 we find that much has changed from back in our day. Our kids don’t buy their pajamas by driving to Sears & Roebuck anymore. Its Amazon online delivered by UPS. We don’t write checks and balance our check book with pencil and paper in the computer banking age. Landline telephones are gone. Yellow pages gone. Paying our bills by mail gone. Airline tickets consigned to the dustbin of history. Most everything has changed – I like to think mostly for the better.
    And you know, many things have changed that we old foggies in our little insular World have even realized have changed! No more out-of-date nut and bolt catalogues in the office. That what Google is for. Its like me going into the office and asking the young Engineer for a pencil and paper because I wanted to show him how it was really done! Pencil….huh? And if you want some paper go over and run yourself a piece out of the CADCAM computer printer.
    So this old septuagenarian keyboard warrior has humbly succumbed to the realization that what I type might be a load of old godswallop!

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    1. i retired in 1998 and Heh but Sorry, Dennis: “my day” was back a little more recently than Sears, checkbooks, landline phones, etc.

      But i agree that changes in the way we consume and how we pay for it has changed dramatically. It certainly is easier; now whether or not it is any “better” is open to question, depending upon what You mean by “better,” and for exactly Who and What.

      And my guess is that goswallop that You type probably has everything to do with how Your world was back in Your “day” during Your tenure with the Infrastructure-Contractor-Congressional Congregation, with its 25% MICC allotment.

      Do any other Kiwis think like You do?

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      1. And that comment about Consuming being easier ~ but not necessarily “better” these days ~ refers not just to economic Goods, Products, and Services, It refers particularly ~ if not primarily ~ to INFORMATION.

        Particularly to Information ~ as in Facts, Realities, and Truth ~ about what the Government and its owners, operators, commander, and controllers in the Ruling Political Class are up to now.

        And will no doubt be up to in the not-too-distant future and beyond.

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        1. Jeff my friend you are going to go to your grave with “the Governments owners, operators, commander, and controllers in the Ruling Political Class” living rent free in your head. A source of antipathy and exasperation to you to the extent of becoming a continual subject of your agitated thoughts.

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          1. And in the meantime, Dennis, the rest of Us are and will be being pushed toward our graves [or worse] by that same RPC living and thriving rent-free thru our system of Government and Governance in our Nation and on this Planet.

            Trust me, “Amigo”: It ain’t just “in my head.”

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      2. My Construction Company had no “allotment” Jeff.
        We bid jobs as they were advertised – and were awarded them if we were low bidder.
        And all the MIC facilities I worked on were for defensive purposes. (And I know you will argue that.)
        I feel no shame in the way I served the country I lived in as an immigrant.

        As for you last question – what does this have to do with the price of fish?

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        1. That depends entirely upon who is Catching, Processing, Marketing, Selling, and ~ most importantly ~ who Buying what kind of Fish, and Where and When they are doing all that.

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  6. The good old UK Guardian newspaper’s star writer gets a royal ass reaming today. It’s about time:
    Another newspaper I used to trust back in the day. Gone completely to the dogs:

    “When thousands of supporters poured into London from all over the world at the weekend to besiege the British Parliament, creating a human chain around it, (George) Monbiot, like his newspaper The Guardian, ignored the event……

    There is a pattern with Monbiot, one that he has been repeating for years. His position on every major issue, aside from his genuine passion for the environment, chimes precisely with that of his employer, The Guardian. He goes only as far as he is given licence to. He is not on the left, he is not a dissident, he is not even his own man. He is owned. He is a salary man. He is a corporate stooge.

    Even his environmentalism, invaluable as it invariably is, has been cynically weaponised by The Guardian. It provides a hook to draw in leftists who might stray elsewhere — and thereby help fund genuinely independent outlets — were they not offered a sop to keep them loyal to The Guardian corporate brand. Monbiot is the media equivalent of a promotional line to keep a supermarket’s shoppers satisfied.

    On foreign affairs, he promotes C.I.A. talking points, advancing Washington’s ever expanding, ever more lucrative war on terror — wars that ravage the environment he supposedly cares about and constantly deflect our energies and attention from doing anything to tackle the ever more urgent climate crisis.

    He readily castigates anyone who tries to point this out as a Putin apologist, choking off the ability of the left — the one group equipped to challenge establishment propaganda — to air meaningful foreign policy debates…….

    He has whispered his support for Assange, while doing nothing to galvanise the left into fighting not only for Assange’s personal freedom but for the freedoms of other journalists and the whistleblowers they depend on. In doing so, he has stifled efforts to shine a light into the very darkest corners of the machinery of the security state so that the public can know what is being done in its name.

    And further, in abandoning Assange he has abandoned the only journalist who had built a counter-weight, in WikiLeaks, to take on that machinery.

    Far more is at stake here than simply griping about Monbiot’s failings. Just as Monbiot follows the company line set by The Guardian, never daring to stray far from the path laid down for him, so much of the left all too readily follows Monbiot, taking their cues from his take on events even though all too often he is simply regurgitating the consensus of the liberal wing of the establishment in which The Guardian is embedded.

    Monbiot is treated by much of the left as a figurehead, one whose environmentalism earns him credibility and credit with the left on foreign policy issues, from Syria to Ukraine, in which he echoes the same talking points one hears from Keir Starmer to Primer Minister Liz Truss. While on matters at home, like Assange and Corbyn, he sucks the wind out of the left’s sails.

    As the saying goes, if Monbiot did not exist, the establishment would have had to invent him. Their dirty work looks so much cleaner with him onboard.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2022/10/13/crippling-the-left/

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  7. Hope fellow poster JG Moebus does not get offended with Joe Rogan being linked again.
    But this is good stuff about the US “rigged” political system.
    Tulsi tells it like it is.

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  8. The Washington Post – 1 hour ago. What did the seekers of Truth expect? It’s preordained. Russia did it!

    Russia summons ambassadors over Nord Stream explosions probe
    The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned ambassadors from Germany, Denmark and Sweden to protest the exclusion of Russia from the Nord Stream pipelines’ explosions probe, the ministry said Tuesday.

    Moscow protested the lack of participation of the “country’s competent agencies and Gazprom in the probe being carried out jointly by Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm,” the ministry said in a statement, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.

    The ministry also warned that Russia would not recognize the findings of the investigation unless its experts participated as well.

    “If Russian experts are denied access to the ongoing investigation, Moscow will assume that the abovementioned countries have something to hide or that they are covering up the perpetrators of those terrorist acts. Naturally, Russia will not recognize any ‘pseudo-results’ of such an investigation unless Russian specialists participate,” the statement said.

    Russian diplomats also said that recent reports had mentioned the involvement of third-party countries in the probe, among them the United States.

    European leaders blame Russian ‘sabotage’ after Nord Stream explosions

    The Gas Pipeline War: On the Day Nord Stream was Sabotaged, the “Alternative Pipeline” was Opened
    Joe Biden: “There will be no longer a Nord Stream 2”

    This is confirmed by the fact that on the very day the Nord Stream was sabotaged, the alternative pipeline was opened: the Baltic Pipe, which transports gas from Norway to Poland and other countries.

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/who-interested-break-pipelines-from-russia-to-europe/5795862

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  9. One of my cherished freedoms is to read the truth. Thankfully, we have journals like CounterPunch, Intercept, Covert Action, Common Dreams, and a growing number of truth-telling journals that speak with the clarity of Chris Hedges. The hurdle is too high to bring down the criminal system of the CIA, the Pentagon, and its contractors plus assorted insecurity agencies that rule the roost–but the challenge is being met by Chris Hedges and progressive media.

    Like

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