HomeArticlePeople Lie To Themselves About Julian Assange To Justify His Persecution

People Lie To Themselves About Julian Assange To Justify His Persecution

“I’ll tell you what else is dying – common decency, respect, compassion, consideration for others, dignity, honesty, integrity, positive patriotism, credibility, kindness, manners, social norms and mores,” tweeted a former Detective Superintendent of London’s Metropolitan Police Service in response to a news story about a White House official making light of Senator John McCain’s death.

“We must never normalise hatred. Love conquers all,” she added.

A few days later, this same law enforcement official tweeted the following at Julian Assange’s mother, who was expressing concern for her son’s declining health and isolation in an Ecuadorian embassy:

“I don’t know what he’s told his old Mum, but he can leave any time he chooses. Tell him to come on out. Btw, how did you let your baby boy be the smelly kid in class?”

I spent my Mother’s Day lounging around, socializing with family, watching Eurovision and generally being more appreciated than usual. Christine Assange spent it getting vicious lies spouted at her about her son by strangers on the internet.

The retired Detective Superintendent in question is named Caroline Goode. She worked on the Edward Snowden investigation and justified the detention of Glenn Greenwald’s husband David Miranda under the absurd veil of anti-terrorism laws as his electronic belongings were taken by the UK government. She does not actually believe that Christine Assange raised “the smelly kid in class”, and she does not actually believe that he can leave the embassy whenever he wants.

Cognitive dissonance is defined as “the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.” Someone like Goode, for example, probably takes great psychological comfort in the belief that she served for decades in a system that is good and just; it gives her a sense of personal validation. Taking on a contradictory belief, like the belief that that same system has imprisoned a journalist for publishing authentic documents about powerful people, would cause her tremendous psychological discomfort until she abandoned one of the two contradictory beliefs. Saying he’s “free” to leave the embassy is the same as saying he’s “free” to step off a cliff.

Mental stress is an uncomfortable experience for anyone as we all know, so what does someone like Caroline Goode do when they see a set of facts arising which contradict the beliefs that they hold about their government?

They lie to themselves.

Nobody actually believes that Julian Assange can leave the embassy whenever he wants. They know that nobody would choose to spend their life in a tiny embassy room with no phone calls, visitors or internet access unless they had no other choice. If they have done any research at all in the matter, they also know that as soon as Assange sets foot outside the embassy he will be arrested and he will be extradited to the United States, where the Trump administration has prioritized the pursuit of his imprisonment. From there the US government will do its very best to create and exploit loopholes and legally stack the deck against Assange so that he stands no chance at a fair trial, and will likely die in prison.

As we’ve discussed previously, the “Assange can leave the embassy whenever he wants” line is right up there with “Russian troll” as a popular canned response by establishment loyalists on social media, but nobody actually believes it’s true. They just pretend to in order to avoid cognitive dissonance.

You will never encounter so many liberals so deeply, deeply concerned about bail violations as you will when writing positive things about Julian Assange. This stupid nonsensical offense which remains the sole charge against Assange and which he has already served time for many times over gets treated like it’s an actual real concern, one that outweighs any and all others. Jumping bail suddenly becomes more important to focus on than the fact an innocent man is being effectively imprisoned for offending wealthy, powerful western plutocrats who can and do use the courts, governments, police forces, and the media to carry out their vindictive personal vendettas. It’s easier to believe that he’s scared of a little county jail time for jumping bail than to unpeel your eyeballs to the shocking truth that we live in an inverted totalitarian system where you will be persecuted by our overlords for pissing them off as surely as if they wore a crown and called themselves Tzar.

You will find the same cognitive dissonance on the right side of the spectrum with the Qanon crowd. Many of them cannot believe their guy Trump would ever do anything to harm Julian, so their preferred deflection is to say that Julian is not even in the embassy anymore, he’s hanging out in Switzerland or something. Despite the assurances of his lawyer, and a visit from Cassandra Fairbanks only a few days before he had his phone and internet cut off and all visitations refused, many Q people will swear to your face that he’s not in that Embassy. The police still surround the building harassing supporters who attempt to entertain him from the street, the Ecuadorean foreign minister hinted at reneging on his asylum status, and his mum is so worried she bravely entered the Twitter fray recently to voice her distress at her son’s treatment, but none of that evidence makes a whit of difference to a blinkered “Trust The Plan” Qanon cultist.

Why? Because in order to really see what’s going on here, they would have to give up the idea that Trump is fighting the deep state. They would have to accept that Trump is the deep state, “the Storm” is not coming, and mass arrests are not on the horizon. They’d have to have their Obama moment like all the intellectually honest liberals did when they realized that Obama’s words were not tallying with his actions. They’d have to let go of their hero and let go of the hope that he will fix the extraordinarily ominous situation we find ourselves in.

There is so much cognitive dissonance around this one gangly Australian not so much for the things that he has done, but for what his existence means. If our institutions were as trustworthy and just as we pretend they are, there would be no such phenomenon as Julian Assange. His reason for rising to notoriety wouldn’t exist, his publications would be redundant, and his persecution wouldn’t occur. If we really lived in a free and democratic society with a transparent and open government, he would have nothing to leak and no one would care if he did anyway, because our institutions would operate as advertised.

These fairytales we mutter to ourselves in order to keep reality at bay must come to an end. We are not children anymore. The veils of lies and wishful thinking must be torn down and reality must be met on its terms. If you want the world to change, you have to see it for what it is otherwise you are merely impotently shrieking at your own illusory nightmares. Tear down the veils of cognitive dissonance and you will see that not only is Julian Assange living proof that things are not as advertised, but that his liberation is one of the first steps we must take towards our own liberation from the chains we woke up to find ourselves in.


Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing my daily articles is to get on the mailing list for my website, so you’ll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalor buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2


Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

Latest comments

  • Apologies if I posted a similar one before but I can’t see. it.

    Caitlin you are among a small minority of ‘leftists’ that still support Julian Assange. Remember to work with genuine socialists in this cause.


    And add your voice to the international coalition of websites against internet censorship.


  • Please help Julian Assange. He will soon be ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy.


  • We need to increase the awareness of Julian’s plight. He will soon be hung out to dry by Equador.


  • Which is the best University Media Faculty/School in Australia? I want to nominate you Caitlin & Team Johnstone to its Ethics Teaching Department! Thank-you – and enjoy your anniversary break!

  • Living with lies could be the subject of many, many books, documentaries and debates – but it the thing that underpins the dysfunction of these rogue states (in the West, & elsewhere) that allows their politicians, spokespeople, and public servants to pretend they are doing the right thing. Imagine what would be revealed if every statement these people made was put through a lie detector, or that they were given truth drugs and were unable to stop themselves from telling the truth!.

    It is the thing that stops the human race from being genuinely ‘civilised’, and advancing as a species. That and our propensity for destruction.

    We all lie to ourselves, whether we like it or not. The bad part is knowing that we do it, and not doing enough about it to reconcile the internal conflicts & contradictions.

  • Well said.

  • Wikileaks should unload everything they have if Assange is effectively shut down by the Brits, i.e. seized. As for the new Ecuadorian president, I’m sure he has a secret Swiss bank account recently filled to the top with Bennies!

  • I watched the Free Julian Assange Online Vigil a month or so ago. Will there be another one ?
    More articles about him have go to out, all around the web. We don’t want him to be forgotten.
    He’s a real journalist. A hero.

    All these years inside that embassy and not being able to go out. And now incommunicado.
    I don’t even like to stay in all day if the weather is bad. I have to go outside.
    Its got to have a big emotional, psychological affect on him. Seems like torture.

    You mentioned Q-Anon. The Q-Anon people, cultists. What exactly is Q-Anon ? Is it some Right-Wing
    Alex Jones type of thing. Conspiracy theory stuff. I don’t go to Right Wing forums & message boards.
    I did read the Harpers magazine article on it.

    • Carol – A You-Tuber named “”Praying Medic” has a basic, understandable “Q-Anon for Beginners” video uploaded last week. He also has very straightforward threads on Twitter. Same name there.

      Lots of people covering Q in both places, but this guy seems to get to the point without a lot of extraneous commentary.

      Another detailed QTuber that also backs up all her research on Trello boards is Katie G – her YouTube channel is called “Citizens Investigative Report”.
      A 3rd one is “Blessed to Teach”. None of these people are RW crazies. BTT is strong on unity and was originally a Bernie guy.

      As with any politicized subject in today’s world – mainstream media sources cannot be trusted.

      “Q-drops” (without any research or interpretation) can be found at a few sites, but
      http://qanon.pub is easiest to remember.
      That site is not the 8-chan board where Q posts or the Anons do their research. It is just an aggregate page where the Q posts are also kept so that people can read them with out wading into the original message boards.

      I can suggest other sources if you are interested.

      (Not rabid RW, not AlexJones, etc.) Q may attract RW ppl simply bc it is anti-govt corruption and most of the past administration is involved. But I can assure you it has gone beyond & will continue to spread way beyond that starting point.

  • Assange cannot just walk out of the embassy whenever he wants. He would be like a prized 12 pointer deer with 50 hunters pointing their rifles at him. Assange having exposed the secrets of governments had sealed his fate. He is to be commended not condemned. I don’t know how long he could live this way. The truth should not have to hide, nor the truth speaker. I support the freedom of Julian Assange.

  • What that paragraph says is that in a perfect world, there would be no secrets or duplicity to expose. But the world is not now, never has been and never will be perfect. Hence, Julian Assange is essential, though he is paying a brutally high price for the role that he has chosen to play.

  • While you and I disagree on few things, this is not one of them. I have no cognitive dissonance; I am happy to say that for years I have defied labels; it is a long time since I would consider myself something as ineffectual as liberal, for as soon as you attach a label to yourself, you are forced into a particular ‘approved’ stance.
    As for Julian Assange, I hold him in the same highest esteem as I do Edward Snowden. Even though Assange is not an American, I consider them both to be the highest of patriots, with the object of that patriotism being the truth and the welfare of humanity. I have examined the circumstances surrounding both of them and their behaviors and I have come to the unchangeable conclusion that, although I will almost certainly never meet either of them, each is my very best friend.

  • Thank you, Caitlin. You are keeping me alive and helping me maintain my sanity. Your words help me to breathe. They have healing power.
    I will be back to read you again and soon will be strong enough for right action.
    Keep up your great work.

  • That second to last paragraph is one of your best, and that is saying something.

leave a comment