“All journalists are Julian Assange.” This should be the universal motto of every journalist and publisher. Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is undoubtedly the most accomplished journalist/publisher of our time and is dangerously close to being extradited to the US for trial and imprisonment for life. It is important to point out that Assange has engaged in journalistic practices no different than any other journalist worth their calling. Investigative Journalists routinely encourage their sources to provide information of critical importance to the public. They protect the identity of their sources. They may even encourage their sources to break the law and leak classified information to prevent greater state crimes. But the US Justice Department alleges that Assange unlawfully helped Chelsea Manning, the former US Army intelligence analyst, to steal classified diplomatic cables and military files and published them in 2010. The US has indicted Assange on 18 counts of violating the Espionage Act. Under the Espionage Act, Assange will not be allowed a defense by ruling out the relevance of motive on his part. If extradited, he will surely rot in a maximum-security prison for life.
In this issue of Left Turn, we reprint an article by journalist and author Chris Hedges (titled “The Imminent Extradition of Julian Assange and the Death of Journalism”) about the pending extradition and the trial. As Hedges makes abundantly clear, far more is at stake than silencing a courageous truth-teller. If the US succeeds in convicting and imprisoning Assange, it will have taken a giant leap toward killing investigative journalism altogether, especially the kind that seeks to expose the inner workings of the powerful and the crimes of the US national security state. As Hedges explains, Assange is guilty of exposing a series of war crimes, illegal spying, backing a bloody coup, and other official corruption by the US that have embarrassed high officials of the state. That is his ‘sin,’ and they are not about to forgive and forget.
The US intends to criminalize truth-telling by making an example of Assange. It wants to immunize the state officials who engage in massive war crimes, international gangsterism, state terrorism, and corruption from public scrutiny and challenge. It fears the possibility of even a minimally functioning democracy based on an informed and civic-minded citizenry. It aims to criminalize truth-telling while leaving those responsible for the exposed official crimes free to do as they please. In this regard, it is important to realize that the reason the US is prosecuting Assange is deeply nefarious. It is not just about revenge or the punishment of Assange for his past ‘sins.’ It is about shielding the US empire as well as the inner workings of the national security state at home from any future exposures, embarrassments, and challenges.
Unfortunately for Assange, the First Amendment, press freedom, and truth-tellers in general, we are not likely to see anytime soon an aroused US public in defense of Assange. The massive US hypocrisy in plain sight seems not to affect the public in the slightest thus allowing the US to seek prosecution of Assange as it continues to lecture the world about the values of democracy, a free press, and the rule of law.
Lastly, we note that Assange is not a US citizen and is not under any obligation to avoid publishing war crimes or other damaging or embarrassing classified information to the US national security state that is also of public value. To accuse him of violating the Espionage Act is simply absurd. It indicates that the US is a rogue state and will act to ensure that even non-US persons must be loyal to the US national security state or face the prospect of prolonged psychological and physical destruction.
Unless we cry out “We are all Julian Assange,” his fate will be ours too.
We Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet. This is so even though the 500 Canadian fires, half of which are not under control, have burned an area nearly as large as Austria. Some 110 million North Americans are experiencing extreme heat. Millions of others are and will deal with air pollution from the fires for several months to come. Global air temperature, the ocean temperature, the melting of Antarctica ice, and the rising CO2 levels are all at record highs this year. So are the profits of 5 oil companies in 2022, reaching a historic record of $200 billion, nearly doubling the 2021 level. Texas is maybe on the verge of an electrical grid collapse, which would mean widespread deaths from extreme heat. Meanwhile, our rulers and the corporate media, who love ruinous wars and wasteful militarism, assure us that they are in control. But, the illusion of normalcy can last only so long in the face of the looming climate collapse.
How do you know the US doesn’t care about human life in the Ukraine War? Well, one way is to notice that the US is sending depleted uranium (DU) tank shells to Ukraine. DU is the dense material left behind after nuclear enrichment. It is radioactive with a half-life of 4.5 billion years. It is hazardous to health if ingested or inhaled as dust or shrapnel. It also can contaminate water and soil. The US used it in the Iraq War too. So much for the claim of “liberating” the Iraqis. I mean, Would You use radioactive weapons to free a people from a dictator, invaders, or occupiers?
How Screwed Up Is The World Order? One Indication: Africa, arguably with the greatest health care needs in comparison to other parts of the world, spends more on debt service costs (paid to the global financial institutions) than on health care.
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