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The War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom


#1

The War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom

Chris Hedges

The failure on the part of establishment media to defend Julian Assange, who has been trapped in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, has been denied communication with the outside world since March and appears to be facing imminent expulsion and arrest, is astonishing. The extradition of the publisher—the maniacal goal of the U.S. government—would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state.


#2

The rhetoric of the corrupted corporatist state, is always framed in terms of security and safety, essentially claiming virtue and social responsibility as the basis of state action.
But anyone who pays attention clearly identifies this as empty rhetoric, and never takes these communications as accurate or truth. We know this for many reasons. Primary is that the public is not allowed into deep state communications and the state has been well documented to lie. The liars are promoted and paid handsomely.
This stuff is like bad tv drama.


#3

The town meeting format, ancient and shared across cultures throughout history, is, ideally, the format of origin to clear the history of the situation to which Assange is being subjected and through it, clarify many of the modes and means of corruption of democratic process. It seems to me that what we face are problems of scale that have leveraged, especially through Citizens United, an utterly cynical distortion of processes of governance.

In the 20th century we rallied to oppose book burning. With the case of Julian Assange we rally to OPPOSE AND FORBID the burning of a publisher. In terms of asymmetrical warfare, which this is, consider the legacy publishing houses and Wikileaks. It took a Howard Zinn to challenge with DOCUMENTATION the propagandistic hegemony of the text publishing houses. And, never forget, they still propagandize in the name of being victorious with cannon fodder. Sad thing is, it is a closeted darkness that swells until light is shone on it. That is why it is fought so assiduously.

The sheer scale of the manipulations and the most honorable efforts of the Ecuadoran government under its former president are not only bookends on the conditions of the 21st century. They are indicators of innumerable ancillary dynamics and contents that have since had additional arrows swung in their direction. In short, we MUST learn to read the maps and interpret they keys to be able to draft and correct our own maps.

Uppity cartographers UNITE!!


#4

That will be a great asset to the 5% of Americans who read on a regular basis.


#5

Excellent writing by Chris Hedges. Will the rule of law ever prevail again in the US?


#6

Beautiful, perfect article. Assange has conscientiously and brilliantly made himself into a historical case study that has unmasked any shred of remaining legitimacy of the western governments. He is indeed a courageous revolutionary of our era. Very sad how little support he has.


#7

Yes, a very good article that once again highlights how our so-called press, or media, don’t really stand for anything close to"investigative Journalism", or to “telling the truth”. No one on any of the major networks has said anything about Assange in all these years, to my knowledge. The crap that passes for news these days is an insult to the memory of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, just to name two.


#8

Not in my opinion. The rule of corporate power, of the mega-millionaires and billionaires will, and does. But no real law, except the law of the jungle-the corporate jungle.


#9

It doesn’t look promising. The harm that will come to the wage slave middle classes will occur in ways that attributing them to the elites won’t be obvious and those whose monies hsve been messed with will be too busy scrambling for survival to look hard to see why.

The system, if it even can still be called that, will allow the wealthy and connected to go on about their monkey businesses until the economic tsunami washes their wealth away. Then human civilization will have no choice but to reconfigure the social and economic arrangements allow to things to settle into a new weird normal if everything somehow goes well. .


#10

Revealing a Putin’s poodle , some can call him effectively a Russian operative , it not a war on free speech.


#11

When this unhinged Russiagate springs back on the “progressive” groupings that have lined up behind this noxious narrative, they may find allies at a premium.

What goes around, dear …


#12

If anything happens to Julian Assange, then I think there will be a lot of “dead men walking ,” in quite a few countries…including Ecuador, Sorry Ecuador, but you’ve been had--------but then, so has the world of TRUTH if anything happens to Mr. Assange.


#13

Mr. Hedges rightly points to the failure of the establishment media to defend Assange. Perhaps he’d include therein many of the supposedly more liberal (self-proclaimed “Progressive” media, such as the Nation.

W/r/t the latter publication, editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel tweeted, in response to the ejection of Sam Husseini from the Trump-Putin Helsinki meeting:

Journalistic solidarity needed more than ever to confront a WH that considers media the enemy of the people, and relentlessly attacks accountability media in order to delegitimize checks on its abuses, corruption.

Will she and the publishers of Rolling Stone, Slate, Vox, Daily Beast and other supposedly “liberal” outlets extend that principle, and that journalistic solidarity to Julian Assange? Because that’s what’s needed here: a solidarity movement to protect whistle-blowers and all those who help expose corruption and violation of democratic principles. Perhaps no one has done more in that regard then Julian Assange; not to discount the contributions of Chris Hedges, Glen Greenwald, and many others…including some who write for Common Dreams.

Assange therefore represents the gravest threat to the duopoly; for if he can get away with shining a light on the nefarious undercurrents therein, others will be so encouraged. And that’s unacceptable to the powers that be.
Of course this bi-lateral hatred of him serves as proof that the duopoly exists. Why, otherwise, would both the Democratic Party elites and Trump officials continue to persecute him?

As the aforementioned liberal outlets have largely become appendages of the “good cop” side of the duopoly, i.e. the Democratic Party, I won’t hold my breath waiting for a joint letter to the American people on his behalf.

But thanks, Chris, for taking up the cause.


#14

“PropOrNot” is a list derived from the initial published list of so-called Russian “passthrough” sites originally assessed by US Intel agencies in January 2017, the month of the Trump inauguration.

A “pass-through site” was a site or media outlet that reliably (and presumably without vetting sources) ‘passed through Russian propaganda from RT, bots and other devices of the GRU.

Around the same time, I began watching the AppleTV live TV channel “RT” and noted numerous odd discrepnacies that verified to me, the truth of this phenomenon and it’s incredible rapidity (< 1 minute). As a psy-ops movement, it does indeed exist and is used more frequently now by right wing outlets, FOX, Drudge and PrisonPlanet, etc.

TV -streaming- in this instance and popular forms of addictive social media are and have been the successful targets.

I fear dear Chris Hedges as a quietist of sorts may be out of the technological loop and the addictive and immersive nature of the media ‘psy-ops du jour’ (social media, including TV) might be therefore missed by my favorite savant.


#15

It has been alleged that Assange’s wikileaks servers were moved to Russia (or perhaps redirected thru there).
If that is in fact correct, it may well be that Assange -captive- may have been leveraged by Russian ops. It’s pretty easy for a hostile actor to leverage you, trapped in some form of imprisonment, when all your loved ones are on the outside, where the mobs are. Vulnerable.


#16

Chris Hedges sees what is coming, and trying to warn all who will listen. When the truth-tellers vanish, we will be essentially “deaf, dumb and blind”.


#17

Is Assange a truth teller? What if he’s just someone looking for a payout from fossil fuel oligarchs? He wouldn’t be the first.


#18

What is most important for a simple US citizen to do, to protect Assange?


#19

He hasn’t known freedom for 6 years, and likely never will again. That;s not much of a payout.

If he goes away, the lights of the rest of the journalists who dare to expose the Empire and the Oligarchy will begin to flicker and ultimately go out.


#20

He’s known enough freedom to communicate with Russian intelligence. Nobody forced him to skip bail and hide in the Ecuadorian Embassy from Swedish prosecutors. His accuser certainly wasn’t happy.

I find it interesting that Hedges, who I generally admire, says unequivocally “Trump is not Vladimir Putin’s puppet.” How does he know? I bet he doesn’t, just like he doesn’t know if Assange is a journalist, or a Russian asset.